This week's Official UK Singles Chart

[Those paying close attention will notice a slight tweak to the layout of these, coinciding with dotmusic deciding to give the columns (still appearing in their own pop-out window from the singles chart listing) a fresher look given that they were still stuck in 1995. Most of this doesn't actually translate to the CSS era of the web or the underlying theme of this site, but that accounts for any cosmetic adjustments you may spot from hereon in].

1 PURE AND SIMPLE (Hear'Say)

The release of their debut (only?) album has a rather dramatic impact on the sales of Hear'Say's single but it still does enough to cling on to the summit for a third consecutive week. In the process the aforementioned album neatly deposes Eva Cassidy from the top of the long player listings and this does indeed mean that Hearsay are the first British act to have both their debut single and album top the charts simultaneously. One other act has done it before, a fact which virtually everyone (including myself I must confess) overlooked. Stand up Hanson who in June 1997 saw their debut album Middle Of Nowhere top the chart just as their first single Mmmbop was spending a third week at the summit. All this proves of course is that there are always new records to be broken if you look hard enough and for the purposes of this column it is perhaps far more significant that they are only the fourth act in the last 12 months to spend longer than a fortnight at the top of the charts with any one single. Much of the interest this week has focussed on the writers of the single and on one name in particular - Clarkson. Her full name is Alison Clarkson who had a brief but memorable pop career just over ten years ago in the guise of Betty Boo. After making her debut as the guest rapper on the Beatmasters' Hey DJ in 1989 she went on to have a number of hits, the largest of which was Where Are You Baby which hit No.3 in September 1990. I always thought she was unfairly labelled as a novelty rap act when in actual fact she wrote some rather wonderful pop records (Hangover and Let Me Take You There spring nicely to mind). Just like chart contemporary Cathy Dennis it is nice to note that she is putting her talents to good use for the popstars of today.
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3 BUTTERFLY (Crazy Town)

Come come my lady... Whilst Hear'Say and Shaggy are busy continuing their steady climb to a seven figure sale, the deadlock in the Top 3 is broken slightly by the arrival on the chart of Crazy Town. The LA-based group are nicely poised to become the latest mainstream rap sensations thanks to their effortless merging of radio-friendly hip-hop and sampled rock guitars. Butterfly is the perfect example of this as frontmen Epic Mazur and Shifty Shellshock sing the praises of the titular lady whilst the riff from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Pretty Little Ditty meanders around in the background. One of those records that sounds even better on a hot day with the top down, this is actually worryingly close to perfect.


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4 CLINT EASTWOOD (Gorillaz)

Just to prove that sustained chart success isn't necessarily limited to the pop kids, the animated concept group Gorillaz turn around and take two steps back up the listings to regain the Number 4 peak the single first achieved when first released four weeks ago. This is all the more surprising when you consider that this week the single has been competing with the release of their album which this week lands at No.3 on the album chart.
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6 SALSOUL NUGGET (IF YOU WANNA) (M&S presents Girl Next Door)

You can validly argue that this single is this year's Groovejet, at least in the sense that it began life as an instrumental club hit before being transformed into a pop smash thanks to the addition of a vocal track. Salsoul Nugget surfaced briefly in the clubs last summer but for whatever reason was never given a major label push and languished in obscurity instead. Just like Spiller's Groovejet before it, the transformation has come about thanks to vocals from a somewhat unlikely source as the "girl next door" of the credits is actress Natasha Brice whose biggest claim to fame to date was with a supporting role in the movie The Fifth Element [as a stewardess, as was 'Connie' from the then-current AOL adverts as it happens]. The title of the track gives away the origin of the groove that underpins the melody as it is based heavily on Loleatta Holloway's Hit And Run which was first released in 1977 on Gold Mind records which was itself an imprint of legendary disco label Salsoul. Salsoul Records (home of the Salsoul orchestra) may never have had many mainstream commercial hits but it is credited by many as the origins of the original house music sound and it was the launchpad for the careers of legends such as Jocelyn Brown, Holloway herself and even Shep Pettibone who worked there as a mixer just before the label's 1984 demise. [This is one of those strange semi-lost club smashes that everyone recognises but precious few can name].


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11 STRAIGHT UP (Chante Moore)

All things come to he (or she) who waits. Chante Moore actually made her UK chart debut as long ago as 1993 when her single Love's Taken Over climbed to the dizzy heights of Number 54. The release of Free/Sail On two years later did little to elevate her chart stock in this country and she has remained hitless ever since. Until now. Just over eight years since she first registered on the charts Ms Moore can boast of her first ever Top 40 hit. Of course that fact alone doesn't make this a very exciting record, one which relies just a little too much on the female R&B formula that the likes of Mya and Jennifer Lopez appear to have sewn up between them. Still there is nothing to hate here.
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12 DON'T LET ME BE THE LAST TO KNOW (Britney Spears)

Gosh, I can see the headlines now about how Britney's pop crown is slipping and how worried her people will be at the disastrous way this single has slid into the charts at the lowly position of Number 12. Of course a little perspective is needed here of course as this is after all the fourth single release from her Oops album and probably one of her weakest to date. This is actually all the more surprising when you look at the writing credits of the track. Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know is not from the Cheiron stable this time but is instead written by both Mutt Lange and his wife. You may have heard of her - Shania Twain. Anyway, the raunchy video for the track that so upset Britney's mother didn't seem to help things either and for the record this is indeed Britney Spears' smallest UK hit ever, her first to miss the Top 10.
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16 SINCE I LEFT YOU (Avalanches)

From the sunny shores of Down Under come the Avalanches, a group of producers who are quite possibly set to be one of Australia's best exports for a long while if the online reviews of their album are anything to go by. Since I Left You is a breezy, summery dance hit that more than one reviewer has pointed out sounds just like Saint Etienne back in the days when they were any good. Already booked for Gatecrasher, the lads from Melbourne could well turn out to be the sleeper stars of the summer.


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18 THIS IS WHERE I CAME IN (Bee Gees)

You just cannot keep a good bunch of veterans down can you? Lionel Richie, Aerosmith and Rod Stewart have all made Top 40 appearances in the last few weeks and now it is the turn of the Bee Gees. To call this a 'comeback' would be a little unfair as it was only 1997 when their last album produced a run of hit singles and 1998 when they receieved a co-credit alongside Celine Dion on the single release of Immortality (a No.5 hit). It has been a long time since the Bee Gees made a bad record and this is far from being a bad record, it is just not a very interesting one and despite this Top 20 chart entry the amount of 'buzz' they have generated this time around has been minimal to say the least. Still, credit where credit is due. 34 years after their chart debut they are still able to have Top 20 hits of which this is their 26th. Indeed strange though it may seem, including the Celine Dion collaboration this is now their fifth Top 20 hit in a row, the first time they have achived that level of consistency in their entire chart career.
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19 UP ON THE DOWN SIDE (Ocean Colour Scene)

A new hit for Ocean Colour Scene and their first chart single since July/I Am The News appropriately made Number 31 in July last year. The group (who could now arguably be called veterans given that their first chart hit was in 1991) have struggled to find their niche of late despite making some extremely good records. Indeed this Top 20 entry will come as a welcome break after their last two singles become some of the smallest of their career. Up On The Down Side is now the 10th Top 20 hit of their career but I surely cannot be the only person who keeps thinking of Steely Dan whenever I hear this single.
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20 SHOW ME THE MONEY (Architechs)

The followup to Body Groove which became one of the biggest club smashes of the autumn when it made Number 3 in October last year as part of a 14 week chart run. Sadly this second Architechs release doesn't have quite the impact or even the appeal of the first and this slightly smaller chart entry is the result.
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25 GONNA WORK IT OUT (Hi-Gate)

The third hit single for Hi-Gate, ahead of the release of their debut album which is scheduled for the summer. They made need bigger hits than this for it to make an impact, this chart placing compares poorly to the positions of Pitchin' (In Every Direction) - No.6 in January 2000 and I Can Hear Voices/Caned And Unable - No.12 in August last year.
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32 WHEREVER YOU ARE (Neil Finn)

Only a small hit but still a breath of fresh air all the same to see the former Crowded House frontman return to the chart. This is his first solo release in two years, his last album Try Whistling This having produced two Top 40 hits in the shape of She Will Have Her Way (No.26) and Sinner (No.39) in 1998. Meanwhile whither brother Tim? His only solo foray came in 1993 when the singles Persuasion and Hit The Ground Running fell narrowly short of the Top 40.
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39 GARAGE GIRLS (Lonyo)

The award for most unimpressive follow-up of the week does not go to the Architechs after all. Instead the honour falls to Lonyo who hit Number 8 with the summertime smash Summer Of Love in July last year. This second hit features little of the charm, buzz or even appeal of the first and can barely scrape into the Top 40.
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